Anand one point away from world title

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Bonn, Oct 25 (UNI) Defending champion Viswanathan Anand is just one point away from retaining his title as he drew with Vladimir Kramnik in the eighth game of the World chess championship here.

The game, which lasted almost four hours, ended in a 39-move draw from Queen's gambit declined as Anand chose the sharp Vienna variation. The Indian leads the Russian 5.5-2.5 now. The next board is slated for tomorrow with Anand having white pieces.

Anand opted for the Vienna variation which was quite tricky from the black side. He came up with a novelty on the 10th move. The middle game was probing, replete with sharp play from Anand, who again chose not to castle. However, Kramnik found the necessary counterplay.

Meanwhile, Anand had gained some advantage on the clock, and he used that to take his king to safety without castling it. As the first time control came nearer, the position looked picturesque with attacking queens still on board.

Kramnik attacked on the king-side, while Anand had managed to open a file on queenside and 'connect' his pieces well.

When the draw was agreed to, Kramnik's attempts to squeeze out a win had reached a dead end. He had managed to hassle Anand with eight checks in last 12 moves but his knight and rook were almost rendered inactive. The Russian appeared not to have a concrete plan to continue.

Both of them had a rook each supported by knights; and their knight manoeuvres were blocked by pawns. Both had six pawns each.

But neither of them was a passer or vulnerable to the opponent's attack.

The Indian won third, fifth and sixth games and the rest have been drawn.

Anand indicated that there he was not without worries, saying ''At one point, (after the 21st move), I guessed I had done something in accurate. The position gives white a lot of possibilities.'' ''I have a choice between various set-ups. But once we have only the major pieces, perhaps, I can hold this (position). But in general, white's better,'' Anand said.

''There's no doubt about it in the whole game. Black's position was worse but still defensible,'' he added.

The prize money of the championship is 1.5 million Euro (approximately 2.35 million dollar), including taxes and FIDE license fees, and is split equally between the players.

UNI XC AB PY KP1932

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